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This article was published on May 20, 2015


Those old AOL CD-ROMs aren’t junk, they’re history and this guy wants yours

Those old AOL CD-ROMs aren’t junk, they’re history and this guy wants yours
Mic Wright
Story by

Mic Wright

Reporter, TNW

Mic Wright is a journalist specialising in technology, music and popular culture. He lives in Dublin. He is on Twitter at @brokenbottleboy. Mic Wright is a journalist specialising in technology, music and popular culture. He lives in Dublin. He is on Twitter at @brokenbottleboy.

Remember when AOL used to blanket the world with free CD-ROMs in the hope of luring you into its thrilling world of dial-up adventures? If you’ve still got some lurking in the back of the closet, someone actually wants them.

Archivist Jason Scott, who runs textfiles.com (which preserves information from old bulletin board systems) and works for the Internet Archive, wants to preserve the history of shovelware.

He explains:

…why wouldn’t I try to image and archive all these CD-ROMs that came out of America Online? After all, for some time, half of all CDs manufactured in the world had an AOL logo on them. Like it or not, folks – those things are payloads of history.

You see, there wasn’t “a” AOL CD that went out. There were so many variations, containing so many different add-ons and wrap-ins, that they became time capsules in themselves.

If you’ve got a pile of AOL discs somewhere (or any other interesting promotional CD-ROMs), details of how to send scans or post the physical items are on Scott’s blog.

Yes, I Want Your Goddamn AOL CDs [ASCII Textfiles blog]

Image credit: Michael Rhode

Read next: Verizon is buying AOL for $4.4 billion in cash

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